"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind."
Khalil Gibran

Friday, April 27, 2012

Painted Dance Studio Sign - Handmade Gift Idea

This is a simple sign that I made for a friend who has a dance studio.

This was a simple wooden sign/plaque that I purchased at a local craft store for a couple dollars.  I began by painting the background in a red/orange blended pattern, keeping the orange at a diagonal angle across the middle.

I then found some clipart of dancers in silhouette.  For this project I was looking for silhouettes in the ecstatic dance style since this is the primary type of dance done in my friends dance studio.  

I cut out the dancers that I wanted to use and traced their outlines on the wood with carbon paper.  (Be sure to tape your dancers to the wood so the image doesn't shift while tracing it) I then free-handed the lettering (You could also print and trace with carbon paper).

The next step is to paint the dancers, to make it simple I filled each dancer in with a solid color.  In this example I used a metallic Gold paint.  And I chose a gloss black to use for painting the lettering using a fine brush for detail.

Finally, I sealed the entire project with several coats of an outdoor clear sealer as I was unsure if it would be hung outdoors or indoors.  You could use a flat or gloss spray depending on your personal preference.
The end result was a unique sign for my friend's studio that will never be found anywhere else.  She really enjoyed the gift and enjoyed the sentimental value as well since I took the time to make something that I knew would be specific to her preferences, colors, and hobbies.

Painted Name Canvas for Kids - Handmade Gift Idea

This project is actually over a year old, and I just discovered that it never made it on the blog. (I found a couple more as well which I will post later)

My friend Heather has a little girl (Lily) who loved Dora the Explorer.  I made this for her last year for her 2nd Birthday.  

It is a large canvas board.  When I find a good deal on canvas boards or regular stretched canvas', I often buy multiples and keep them on hand for when I need them.  (Canvas boards are usually much less expensive than stretched canvas over a wood frame.)  In this case, I decided with very little time that I wanted to paint something for Miss Lily so I began to look around at what I had on hand.

I decided to make a painting with her name and her favorite cartoon characters and matched the colors to the ones in her room.

I began by painting the background of the canvas in yellow and green.  I painted the canvas with water first to get it wet and then used yellow and green and added more water where they met to help the colors blend into each other.

Next I searched images of Dora on Google and found a poster that had an image that I liked of her.  I copied it to my computer as well as another image of Boots the Monkey.

I personally wanted to make the images larger than I was able to expand and print them on my printer, so I basically just used the images as a visual reference.  I can freehand pretty well so that worked for me.

If freehand drawing is not something you are comfortable with, print your photo and take it to a copy shop and re-size it to your desired measurements and print it out the exact size you'd like it to be on your canvas.  Purchase some carbon paper and trace your image on your canvas, be sure to tape the image so it doesn't slide.  Of course you want to be sure that your background paint is dry before you begin this step.

The name was done in a similar fashion.  I typed her name in a Word document and went through several fonts until I found one that I liked.  Once again, I could not make the image as big as I needed it for this project, so I free-handed it.  (You can do the same thing as you did with the image at the copy store and following it up with tracing it onto your canvas with carbon paper).

Now all you need to do is paint your name and graphics...just color in each section much like a coloring page.  I used inexpensive acrylic paints from the craft store on this canvas.

When I finished I sprayed a clear coat sealer over the entire board.  I usually spray a couple of coats.  If you skip this step, moisture could make the paint bleed or dirt can accumulate and not wipe off.  Since this was intended for a child (and we all know kids have dirty hands most of the time), I gave it a few extra coats.

For added effect, I took glitter and glued in onto the black paint that I used for her name.  It doesn't show really well on the photo but it does show up pretty well in reality.


Don't apply the glitter before the spray sealer, if you spray over glitter, it will no longer 'glitter' and it turns out dull and bumpy.  (Especially if you are using a flat sealer, but gloss sealer also messes with the 'glitter' factor as well in my experience)

The possibilities are really endless for this gift idea.  And for small children, coloring book pages make great traceable stencils.

Don't be afraid to try something new, you just never know what you might create!

The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail.— Edwin H. Land